Category: Shops & Markets

Swedish food, Part One: “what have the Swedes ever done for us?”

In her Reith Lecture in 2018, Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan said this about the Swedish people:   “Think of the Swedes” “I mean we think of the Swedes now today as making expeditions to Ikea, assembling furniture quietly, not getting cross at it. We think of them going to the woods and picking berries. I mean […]

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“You either see it or you don’t”. The Dennis Severs House

Where do you go as a treat for a nephew whose 11th birthday is a week before Christmas? We took him to the 18th century.   On Sunday 23rd December we travelled by London Overground to Shoreditch High Street. As we walked towards our destination, we passed the strangely rather wonderful shop window of Gardner’s, […]

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Tintoretto’s 500th anniversary, and Venice today

Feasting on Tintoretto Venice is currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of the painter’s birth, in 1518 or 1519. Almost all his major works remain in his home city, spread among 29 locations. I imagined that the exhibition The Young Tintoretto at the Accademia was going to be a rerun of the one at the Musée du […]

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Nervous of a Soggy Pickle

Giardiniera, or Garden Pickle.   Giardiniera is a typical Italian pickle. On holiday, I sometimes buy a commercial version from the supermarket, to eat with a picnic. It consists of little chunks of crunchy vegetables in a sharp, vinegary brine; something like piccalilli without the mustard.   At Trattoria Anzolo Raffaele in Venice, Luigi makes […]

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Portena: an Argentinian member of the Borough Market family

Federico Fugazza arrived in London from Argentina in 2002. His brother Franco was studying for a Master’s at the LSE; he quickly introduced Federico to Borough Market, his favourite place in London, for its food, its multicultural mix of people, and its socialising.       It was unique in London at that time, and Federico […]

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A drinking game in Sardinia

“Find the oldest vintage rosé”   Noticing the poor stock rotation in the local supermarket led to my invention of this little game (and the winner was. . . . 2007! from the highly regarded Cantina Mesa).   I also noticed this example of sophisticated Italian label design:       I stocked up with […]

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Alghero, Sardinia: “The Food Stuff”

First night: La Bifora   I picked a B & B for our first night in Alghero based on its convenient location, as we planned to drive to our self-catering holiday accommodation the following day, after stocking up at the market. By the time we arrived, we were ready for dinner. The owner of the […]

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“Eating with the fishes” in Sardinia’s Boqueria

“Why Boqueria? I thought that was the market in Barcelona”. Sardinia has strong Catalan roots, so I guess the etymology is the same. I believe the name La Boqueria is a derivation of the Catalan for Butchery. Locating the Mercato Civico in Alghero is easy enough. It’s a squat, dilapidated building in the centre of town, […]

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Lunch with the Italians

It’s the kind of place you might find in any Italian city.   You choose your plateful at the counter. They have a full range of formaggio and salumi, a tempting variety of pizza and focaccia by the slice, and salads, all prepared on the premises.         While the minimum serving of each item is 100 […]

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Postcards from Paris; May 2018

Rue du Nil. Gregory Marchand was given the nickname “Frenchie” when he was cooking in the kitchen of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen. It stuck, and in 2009 he opened his first restaurant with the name in Paris. Since then he has opened a wine bar, a wine shop, and Frenchie to Go, all on Rue du […]

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